Ukraine begins using US Javelin missiles.. Lavrov attacks Washington and warns of a large-scale conflict in Europe

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Washington was poisoning the atmosphere and adopting an unfriendly approach towards his country, warning of the outbreak of a large-scale conflict in Europe, while Ukraine began using US Javelin missiles in military exercises near an area controlled by Moscow loyalists.

The Russian foreign minister stressed that Washington’s “unfriendly approach” towards his country creates a toxic atmosphere that prevents quiet communication.

Lavrov considered that the interaction between Russia and the United States is in an unhealthy situation, through the imposition of sanctions and accusations.

The Russian minister stressed that seeking to include Ukraine in NATO, in addition to the possibility of the emergence of missile systems near Russia’s borders, creates unacceptable threats to his country’s security, as it raises military risks for all parties that may reach a large-scale conflict in Europe.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that all NATO exercises in Ukraine bear an anti-Russian orientation.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he did not rule out that Ukraine would start a new military operation in the separatist Donbass region, and “on this basis, Russia must be ready for this.”

Regarding the security concerns on the part of NATO, Putin said that the US side “brazenly lied to it”, especially regarding the expansion of the borders of the alliance towards the Russian borders.

But Putin pointed out at the same time that Moscow had received a positive response from Washington regarding the security negotiations, which he said would begin in Geneva.

The United States responded by preparing for dialogue with Russia, starting from the beginning of next month, according to what a senior official in the White House announced.

Military buildup and missiles

In a related context, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in a call with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, discussed the Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine, and the common concern it causes.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the two sides discussed NATO’s dual track approach towards Russia, and expressed the alliance’s readiness to hold a meaningful dialogue with Russia in conjunction with uniting to defend allies.

For his part, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan discussed with Andrei Yermak, the director of the Ukrainian presidential office, “a common approach to the Russian buildup near the Ukrainian border.”

A White House statement said Sullivan welcomed the OSCE’s announcement of the determination of Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine to abide by the ceasefire.

Sullivan stressed the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In the field, the Ukrainian armed forces for the first time began using US portable Javelin anti-tank missiles, in military exercises conducted with live fire in an area near the Donbass region.

A statement of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that the maneuvers were approved by the commander of the joint forces Oleksandr Pavlyuk, where the forces were assigned to hit a conventional target, a tank, in a trench at a distance of about 1.5 km from the firing point, and the missile successfully hit the target.

These maneuvers aimed to test the effectiveness of the missile system in cold weather conditions, low air temperatures and high winds that prevail these days in the east of the country.

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